Glenn Ross was about to sit down to dinner at Alexandria Fire Department Station 206 Tuesday evening when he heard a familiar address come across the radio. Other Alexandria and Fairfax County stations were dispatched to a report of a house fire at the firefighter’s Franconia home.
There were lots of thoughts going through the mind of Glenn Ross, with the most important being to get home. Battalion Chief Joe Hoffmaster decided the safest way to get him there was aboard Engine 206.
Discovering that his wife was at not home, Firefighter Ross then thought about his two dogs who spend the day in the kitchen. When he pulled up, Sparky and Brownie were on a neighbor’s lawn, unconscious. They were wearing pet oxygen masks and being treated by Fairfax County paramedics. Firefighters found the dogs under a table in the burning kitchen.
The kitchen is gutted and the Ross home has significant smoke and water damage.
Investigators believe the fire started because of a box left on the stove top ignited. What was in that container leaves a big clue into the leading theory of how this blaze began. It was a box of dog biscuits.
Glenn Ross believes that one of the dogs, most likely Sparky, jumped up trying to get the treats and accidentally turned on a burner.
Dr. Katy Nelson at Alexandria Animal Hospital and Veterinary Emergency Service is treating both Brownie and Sparky for smoke inhalation and corneal burns. Dr. Nelson says both dogs are recovering nicely.
Dr. Nelson agrees with Firefighter Ross. In her professional opinion, the fire starter is clearly the always hungry Sparky, a beagle.
Ross says the hero of the day is a five-year-old neighbor who saw smoke coming from the home while playing outside. The boy ran in to get his grandparents who called 911. The early call apparently meant the difference between life and death for Sparky and Brownie.
Ross says the lesson learned is one that is basic in his business: Never leave anything combustible on or near the stove.
Glenn Ross says he is also learning what it is like to be on the receiving end of all the brotherhood the fire service has to offer. According to Ross offers of help have come in from his brother and sister firefighters across Northern Virginia.